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City officials recommend school zones expansion to junior highs
Published Thursday, October 13, 2016 7:27PM MDT
City of Edmonton officials are recommending streets surrounding junior high schools be changed to school zones, with lower speed limits – as the same move outside elementary schools has prompted a drop in injury collisions.
Next week, City Council will discuss the idea – administration is asking council to change the school zone bylaw, which currently limits the 30 kilometre per hour speed limits to elementary schools.
If council makes the change, the school zones would be expanded to 44 junior high schools in the fall of 2017 – not all schools would be included, those near major arterial roads would be left out, because research shows it would cause major traffic delays.
Currently, school zones are at 200 elementary schools. The zones were introduced during the 2014-2015 school year.
Officials say since then, injury collisions involving kids at school are down 71 percent.
Despite the drop in crashes, police say they’re still catching speeding drivers, issuing more than 12,000 traffic tickets over the past two years, most of them for speeding.
“It’s an ongoing challenge because you always have new parents, new parents moving into a community, so we always say it’s education, enforcement, engineering,” Councillor Bev Esslinger said.
Councillor Andrew Knack said he likes the idea, but more roadways need to have lower speed limits.
“Doing playground zones like they’re doing in Calgary and other cities, where every school zone isn’t just a school zone until 4:30 p.m., it actually extends until later,” Knack said.
The proposal would cost about $75,000 for new signs and markings, and another $100,000 for a driver education program, the changes would be made by September 2017.
With files from Breanna Karstens-Smith